PALO ALTO, CALIF.—It was perhaps the most highly touted press conference of the week, but it didn't reveal much in the way of evidence: Three bigfoot enthusiasts announced today that a series of genetic tests performed on samples taken from a carcass they claim is a Sasquatch came back as a mixture of human and opossum.
In addition to the mixed DNA results, Tom Biscardi, Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer showed the audience two blurry photos, one of a solitary figure in mixed hardwood forest and another of the mouth of what appeared to be the tongue and teeth of a primate.
Nevertheless, fielding questions from a packed room in Palo Alto, the trio called their discovery groundbreaking and held to their claim that the animal they are currently holding in "an undisclosed location" is indeed the legendary bigfoot.
"We're not bigfoot hunters originally," Whitton said. "We stumbled upon this creature. It was a stroke of luck, I can tell you that."
Whitton and Dyer said they discovered the carcass when they were hiking in a forest near their home sometime in June and that it has been stored in a large freezer since then. They refused to say exactly where and when, stating only that it was in northern Georgia and that they captured video of several live animals.
They said when they found the carcass they hauled it into a truck and brought it to a freezer. They then set up a Web site to offer tours into the area and made an announcement on a bigfoot enthusiast radio program.
That's when Biscardi got involved, moved the animal to another location, and began contacting the media. In the week before the press conference, Whitton and Dyer spent several days sparring with skeptics and created a YouTube video where they held a stuffed bear up to the camera and repeated their claims of having found a Sasquatch.
Meanwhile, Biscardi sent three samples of the carcass to biologist Curtis Nelson at the University of Minnesota for analysis. In an e-mail, Nelson told Biscardi that most of DNA segments taken from two of the samples matched human DNA. One came back as a likely match for an American opossum. Biscardi said this is likely from a stomach sample and that the creature might have eaten an opossum. He did not say why he had sampled from the stomach.